Last Christmas, I decided to purchase new bibles for my mother-in-law and a dear friend. I had just spent the previous year falling in love with Scripture, and I wanted to spread the excitement. I knew these two women would receive a Bible gift with pleasure, and after extensive Bible browsing, I landed on the She Reads Truth Bible (SRT). It was beautiful and very well-designed. I had been using the SRT Bible app all year, as well, so I already had a bit of brand loyalty. Their Bible has wide margins for notes, is filled with beautiful art, and…it’s got devotionals. Lots of devotionals.
Chicks dig devotionals.
I mean, listen: Gentlemen, I am doing you a solid right now by sharing this information. I missed the memo about females and devotionals because I didn’t know what a devotional was for most of my adult life, much less that I was supposed to like reading them. And–sure–there are outliers (like me) who might not want to use devotionals in our “quiet time,” but we’re like 3 standard deviations from the mean in that regard. Most women appreciate having a touching story or a memorable application illustration alongside the text. That helps make the lesson stick for most of us, and I happen to think that’s absolutely fine. Whatever gets a sister into the Word, amen?
So, anyway, the SRT Bible was a slam dunk for Christmas presents, but shortly after Christmas, the super sales began, and I started acknowledging the hard truth about my own beloved coloring Bible. Guys? It was getting full. The margins in more than half of my pages were so full that I couldn’t write any more notes. I was entering a new season of second readings instead of first readings, deeper studies instead of introductions, and a completely different approach to my faith. I wasn’t a seeker being convinced, anymore. I was an all-in Bible nerd for Jesus this time around. My old Bible had become my friend, and it was full of my outpourings and struggles. It was my security and my comfort.
But it was time. I needed to put the old book down (in an honored place on the shelf, don’t worry) and start fresh. Clean pages with clean margins, ready to tackle a whole new trip through Scripture. Sure, I could have gotten a notebook and kept on going with the same Bible. Many people do that. My daddy has the same Bible today that he’s been reading, carrying, and studying since I was a kid. For me, however, this was about literally closing the book on my wilderness years. My old Bible, which I will still share notes from in this blog on occasion, is full of my doubt and my anger and my feelings of abandonment, isolation, and despair. I don’t live there anymore. I needed a new Bible for a new season.
I made the decision to get one and, rather conveniently, I’d already done all the shopping when I picked one out for my people at Christmas. I already knew which Bible I thought was the best. I ordered yet another SRT Bible, this time at an incredible after-Christmas closeout price. Six months into the relationship, I am still very happy with it. I’ve done a full review below with lots of pictures. I’ve discussed all the features I like and all features I view as shortcomings. For the TL/DR version: I highly recommend it…and I hear they’re publishing a He Reads Truth version very soon.
The translation for She Reads Truth is the Christian Standard Bible (CSB).
Fresh from the Box
In the top left photo, you can see how my SRT Bible looked at unboxing. I chose the “LeatherTouch” cover, which only comes in navy blue and will never be mistaken for real leather. It’s very nice, but it looks like shiny vinyl furniture and car seats from the 1970’s. It is soft, bright, beautifully floppy material that will hold up for a long time at less than half the price (USD $32) of the real leather cover (USD $88). You can see all the options and editions at the She Reads Truth Shop. Don’t forget to check Amazon and Christianbook for sales, as well. The SRT Bible has a lot of useful information in the basic formatting/design. Of special note are:
- Introductions to each book that discuss dating, authorship, major themes, and historical context.
- Footnotes that thoroughly document variations between manuscripts.
- Reading plans for each book that include suggested cross-references and supplemental/complementary scriptures.
- A “Bible in a Year” reading plan.
- Subtle color coding by genre throughout.
- Key verses for memorization.
My Bible Cover and the Glorious Book Tabs
I made the Bible cover in the top right photo on my little sewing machine at my kitchen table. I always cover my Bibles because I like having a pocket for notes, church bulletins, and pens. I also like knowing that if I spill coffee or tea on my Bible, I can just take the cover off and wash it; no harm, no foul. The fabrics in this cover are from the Acorn Trail line by Teagan White. I had scraps left over from a quilting square project several years ago, and they were perfect.
The labeled tabs were made by Lindsee Walker of Find Wondrous Things over at Etsy. It can take a while to receive her creations (she really does make them from scratch when you order them), but they are worth every minute and every penny. Mine are the “Poppy” set of Bible tabs in her shop, and they matched the cover I made perfectly. I am not particularly reverent or careful with my Bible. It goes everywhere with me and it’s been through some things. Drops, pages bent, stuck the wrong way down in a messenger bag full of other stuff, accidentally crammed under the passenger seat of my car (who knows how? I have no clue)…you know, all the stuff we fuss at our kids for doing with books and Bibles. After months of this kind of abuse, the tabs still look brand new. They’re very well made, and you can’t go wrong with her shop’s offerings.
Let’s Discuss the Paper
In the photo above, which is the beautiful and lovely title spread for the book of Ruth, you might notice that you can see the text and art from the opposite pages through the paper. The pages in this Bible are excruciatingly thin, and the see-through nature of the paper stock could be a deal-breaker for some people (just read the 1-star Amazon reviews…wow!). It doesn’t bother me, but it’s worth noting.
Surprisingly, these tissue-thin pages do not tear easily. They also don’t tend to bleed highlighter ink unless you go nuts. I have highlighted in this Bible with yellow, pink, and blue. It only bled through once, and that’s because I went over it like three times, which was stupid. I should have known better, and it would’ve bled through thicker Bible pages than these. You can see the color through the page (because you can see everything through these pages), but it does not bleed.
One of the reasons I got tabs for this Bible is because of the onion-skin paper. When this Bible is still new, it is really difficult to flip through it. For example, if you open your Bible to Psalms, but you wanna be in Proverbs, you just turn a few flips to the right, and you’ll be there. That is not an easy task with this one. The pages are so skinny and pressed together that thumbing through is kind of a pain. Once the Bible is “broken in” a bit, the pages get oil from your skin on them and tiny wrinkles from being turned that will lift the pages away from one another. They separate and become easier to deal with, but that could take a while. I went with tabs to mark the books, and it was the right decision for me.
This Bible is HEAVY
I haven’t been able to find my postal scale, so I can’t give you an exact weight, but this Bible is heavy. Very heavy. The paper is thin, but the book is stuffed with content–useful content–and it weighs a lot. At first, this made it difficult for me to adjust because my old Bible was just a regular weight like a regular book of this size. The SRT hardcovers are easier to carry because, despite the weight, they are sturdy. Because I got the floppy soft cover, I won’t lie: This Bible is awkward to carry around.
A Little Something to Color
I have to admit that I was sad about losing all the line art in my old Bible, but my consolation prize is the abundance of black and white maps in the SRT. They are everywhere in this Bible, and I love them. They are clear, included right there with the book of Scripture they apply to…and my colored pencils love the paper stock. I colored this map at the introduction to Ephesians shortly after I bought the Bible. It hasn’t smeared, and none of the pigment has bled through to the opposite page. You can still color and draw in the SRT margins, but you’ll be limited to pastels, pencils, and crayons. Wet inks and paints will bleed.
Charts and Diagrams and Timelines
There are tons of things in this Bible like the tabernacle chart above. Genealogies, timelines, and charts are found throughout, and they’re marvelous. Like the maps, they are located in logical places, not just relegated to a section you’ll never turn to in the back.
And finally…there are the Devotions
I make fun of girly things all the time, but it’s not because I don’t actually value feminine things. I do. I admire it in other women (unless it’s ridiculous), and I envy it, sometimes. I find romance awkward. I cannot like poetry. I don’t cry over movies or commercials. In short, I don’t have that connection that most of my gender possesses with emotionally powerful material. I do understand the benefit of storytelling for learning a concept or illustrating a life application from Scripture. I also really appreciate good advice. Some of the devotions in the SRT Bible are really, really good, and if the crazy lady who doesn’t like devotionals is saying that? Well, then, my goodness. You’re gonna love this thing.
I love my new Bible. I hope you found the review helpful. See you again soon in the story of David.